Friday, February 25, 2011

Power and Majesty

Water its living strength first shows,
When obstacles its course oppose.
~~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

from our tour through the mountains of Norway

The world turns softly
Not to spill its lakes and rivers,
The water is held in its arms
And the sky is held in the water.
What is water,
That pours silver,
And can hold the sky?
~~Hilda Conkling

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Dogs in Paradise

The lucky dogs around Venice, Florida have their own beach.
Just south of Sharky's on the Pier,
Paw Park welcomes four-footed pals for water play.
So come on in,
 the water's fine!

Dog showers provided before getting back in the car :)

Monday, February 14, 2011

We're In the Pink

Sometimes we go off in different directions...

...and sometimes we get in each others' faces...

...but mostly we live in harmony.

Happy St. Valentine's Day!!!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Simplify, Simplify

Every day the word, "simplify," repeats like a chant in my head.

 Mom--who loved freeing our homes of previous owners' busy wallcoverings,
painting a single color throughout the house,
and replacing Victorian chandeliers with modern lighting--
is responsible.

Isn't it odd, then, that I chose a career in art and design
when Mom clearly trained me in the art of undecorating?
Even now, when I visit her,
she asks me to put away the extra things
 and remove the dried-up flowers
to "pretty up" the place.

+   +   +

I'm ambivalent about owning things.
The objects I admire most are newly-invented and streamlined--
sleek and modern furniture, lamps, the art of Matisse, Motherwell, and Martin.
 At the same time, I find pleasure in the sensuous detail of Rubens, Michelangelo, and Renoir.
 I adore Scandinavian interiors, ancient 12th-century abbeys, and storied cathedrals.

My photo stylist work puts me in touch with marvelous material goods.
Lovely furnishings slip through my fingers like sand through a sieve.
 I create with a wealth of things--but only for the moment.
 Once the photographer clicks the pictures, I "crack the set," move on to the next one and
the beautiful things disappear into corporate archives or are sold at prop sales.
Little of it comes home to complicate my life.

To my eye, there's nothing more beautiful than an empty stretch of countertop awaiting a new recipe.
A side table free of clutter, ready to host a visitor or provide chairside comfort.
A bookcase with room to grow more reads.
It's peaceful. Relaxed. Open to the future.
And I can pretend I'm leaving a small footprint on the earth.

Still, things accumulate.
Books, tools, gifts, electronics, clothing, dishes, the accoutrements for living.
What's a minimalist to do?

A friend in Seattle has minimalism down to a science
Her rule is simple:
When something new comes into the house, something old has to go.
Would that I could manage so well (and she really does)...

And so I beat on, a little boat against the current of consumerism...

My rule is simple:
I don't want a dumpster clearing out my house after I leave this earth. :)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

WORDS TO LIVE BY: A Calendar of Days

On the first day of every month, I receive Convivio Bookworks' e-newsletter.
It usually includes a fun little (often quirky) Lake Worth tale, an update on John and Seth's
 handmade letter-press books, and a note about their classes
at the Jaffe Center for Book Arts (Florida Atlantic University Libraries).
Best of all, the dispatch signals a new month's Convivio Book of Days,
a calendar of holidays that John posts on their website.
When I click on "current edition," I see the new list of holidays
illuminated by John's photos and a bit of his gentle philosophy.
Ideas for celebrating begin circling in my head...
+   +   +
It's a modern version of the ancient Book of Hours!

Calendar page from the Hours of Catherine of Cleves for June 1-15, c. 1440
Source: Wikipedia

The original book of hours, written in Latin and illuminated by monks in monasteries,
 began as a Psalter containing recitations required for monks and nuns.
By the 12th century, the Psalter became a breviary of psalms, hymns, and readings.

Eventually, monks produced a selection of texts in short volumes called a Book of Hours.
For a pretty penny, abbeys sold the lavishly illustrated books
to royalty and privileged upper-class women.

With the invention of Johannes Gutenberg's movable type printing press,
15th century books of hours were mass-produced and made affordable to the masses.

The Hours of Catherine of Cleves opens with an illumination of Catherine kneeling before the Virgin and Child, surrounded by her family heraldry.

Book of Hours of Jeanne d'Evreux,
Source: Wikipedia
+   +   +
Thanks to e-publishing and the grace of writer, John Cutrone,
my book of hours (Convivio Book of Days) is free!
And just one or two convenient clicks away.

It's the first day of February and time to turn the page...
Click HERE to see what February's days are all about!